By the Numbers: Lots of Money, Fewer Projects at School-Construction Agency

John Mooney | March 7, 2013 | Education
Only one project begun since 2010, despite millions spent by School Development Authority

The debate didn’t slow down much this week over the state Schools Development Authority and its progress – or, to some, lack of progress – in building and repairing schools in New Jersey’s poorest districts.

Appearing before a joint legislative committee on Tuesday, SDA chief executive Marc Larkins testified for close to two hours.

Yesterday, close to three dozen community activists and others came before Larkins and the SDA’s board to air their complaints.

Much of the talk on both sides is about how many projects have begun, how much they cost, and how long it will be before work is done and children are in new classrooms.

NJ Spotlight breaks down some of the most critical of those numbers, as supplied and undisputed by the SDA and others:

1: Number of new school construction projects on which SDA has broken ground since 2010

12: Number of projects projected by the SDA to be under way within 12 months

30: Number of projects approved by the SDA since 2010

100: Number of projects approved by the state Department of Education in 2010

$8.7 billion: Amount spent by the SDA and its predecessor agency since 2001 under the state Supreme Court’s school-equity case, Abbott v. Burke

$12.5 billion: Total amount authorized

36: Number of “emergent” repair or renovation projects started since 2010

716: Number of “emergent” repair project requests submitted in June 2011

240: Number of SDA employees, down from 340 in 2010
$36 million: Annual SDA budget
$110 million: Amount spent on administration and other overhead since 2010.